Monday, February 9, 2009

DHS Gets $4.7b in Senate Stimulus Bill; Air, Border Security Big Winners

(HS Today – Anthony L. Kimery)

In the final version of the Senate’s shaky 778-page, $827 billion economic stimulus bill arduously hammered out by moderate Democrats and Republicans over the weekend, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) emerged with $4.7 billion for aviation security, border enforcement and other programs and activities.

In addition, there’s significant funding for first responders, law enforcement, mass transit and port security and other homeland security-related needs under non-DHS funding programs.
While the Senate bill overall contains less money for DHS than the initial Senate stimulus package, Senators redirected and refocused a lot of the money that they kept in their final bill, especially in areas of aviation and border security.

Several Capitol Hill staffers familiar with the matter who were reached by late Sunday night said on background the fact that both the House and Senate bills contain funding for DHS programs is a clear indication that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle understand the importance of homeland security and the urgency to continue to work to plug certain potentially exploitable vulnerabilities in security.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), “largely based on historical spending patterns for affected programs, CBO estimates that most of [the] funds [for DHS] would be spent over the 2009-2011 period.” Read the complete article here (PDF).